Chronic pain and opioids are a deadly mix. A research team at Columbia University studied the medical histories of 13,000 adults who died of opioid overdose. More than 60% had been diagnosed with chronic pain during the last year of their lives. Some also suffered from depression and anxiety. More than 50% of the people had received prescriptions for both opioids and an anti-anxiety drug. in the year that they died.
This combination is known to increase the risk of very slow and shallow breathing, the cause of death in most fatal opioid overdose